Koshie Quaye  "In-Country Coordinator"

SWAATC - Republic of Ghana


Ghana is located on West Africa's Gulf of Guinea. It has a total land area of 238,533 km and an estimated

population of 23,478,000. It has a population growth rate of 2.6% and a total fertility rate of 4.0. About half the population live in the rural area.

Ghana is divided into ten administrative/political regions which are further divided into 170 District Assemblies. The District Assemblies develop, plan and mobilize resources for programmes and strategies for the development of the district. Ghana has a stable political situation, with Presidential and Legislative elections held every four years. Transition of power between political parties has taken place without incident in 2000 and 2008.


The Government’s development agenda is to transform Ghana into a middle income country with GDP per capita of at least 1000 USD by 2015. The strategies for achieving this growth is to improve human capital, strengthen the role of the private sector in the development of the economy, and to provide good governance



The health sector in 1996, adopted Sector Wide Approach (SWAp) in its sector reforms; with government, partners, civil societies and the private sector all playing a part. As a result of this reform, the Ministry of Health (MoH) retained responsibility for policy formulation, monitoring and evaluation, resource mobilization and regulation of the health services delivery.

The Ghana Health Service (GHS) was created to assume responsibility for service delivery and implementation of the health policies and programmes designed by the MoH. A common management arrangement has been developed in which partners and stakeholders participate in sector dialogues and develop sector plans. Joint planning, budgeting, supervision, monitoring and reporting framework is being used; making a joint ownership of most processes and products of the sector.

To make the health sector more responsive, all public-owned health institutions, divisions, facilities and agencies have the responsibility for their own planning, budgeting, implementation, monitoring and evaluation by being designated as Budget Management Centres. National, regional, district, sub-district and community levels are organized to implement the 5-year Plan of Work (5YPOW), which is developed by the Ministry and all key partners and stakeholders.

The private and the NGO sectors including the Christian Health Association of Ghana provide over 40 percent

of health care in Ghana, especially in the rural areas. In 2005, Ghana introduced the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to improve financial accessibility to healthcare. The NHIS is administered peripherally through District Wide Health Mutual Insurance Schemes (DWHIS). The Scheme is tax-based and covers most services offered at the district hospital level. Despite a number of constraints, it has registered over 50% of Ghana’s population. In 2008 free maternal care was included in the range of service covered by the NHIS Ghana is going through an epidemiologic transition where the prevalence of non-communicable diseases is increasing. The major causes of child mortality include malaria, diarrhoea, respiratory infection, and neonatal conditions. HIV infection, hypertension, diabetes mellitus and road traffic accidents are major causes of mortality in adults. Low level of literacy, poor sanitation, under-nutrition, alcohol abuse, sedentary life styles and unhealthy diets constitute the broad determinants of ill-health contributing to high morbidity and mortality rates.


The health sector is implementing its third five year Programme of Work (2007-2011) which links health closely to poverty reduction through the Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS II) which recognises that improving the health of the poor is crucial to achieving accelerated and sustainable growth.


© United Nations Cartographic Section

Total population 

23.478mi [5]


% Under 15

39 [1]


Life expectancy at birth

59.1 [1]


Under-5 mortality rate per 1000

80 [2]


Maternal mortality rate per 100 000 live births

451 [3]


Total expenditure on health as % of GDP

5.1 [5]


General government expenditure on health as % of general government expenditure

4.4 [5]


Human Development Index Rank, out of 177 countries

135 [1]


Adult (15+) literacy rate

57.9 [1]


Adult male (15+) literacy rate

66.4 [1]


Adult female (15+) literacy rate

49.8 [1]


% population with access to improved drinking water source

75 [1]


% population with improved access to sanitation

18 [1]



1. 2007/2008 Human Development Report Ghana

2. Ghana Demographic and Health Survey, 2008

3. Ghana Maternal Health Survey, 2007

4. Extrapolation from 2000 Population Census

5. World Health Statistics 2009